By  on November 21, 2007

NEW YORK — Abbey Doneger, president of The Doneger Group, the global fashion merchandising consulting firm here, cut the ribbon Monday night on the new Henry Doneger Computer Lab at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Named in memory of his father, Henry Doneger, founder and chairman of the firm, the computer lab is furnished with 25 state-of-the-art Dell computers, used by students majoring in FIT's Fashion Merchandising Management courses.

Surrounded by friends, family and colleagues such as FIT president Joyce Brown, John Pomerantz, Gilbert Harrison, Allan Ellinger and James Ammeen, Doneger spoke about the "amazing work" FIT has done in educating people in the fashion industry.

He recalled when he joined his father's buying office in 1973, he was immediately introduced to FIT and started getting involved. "It has been a very special place for me and my family," said Doneger, whose father died in 1995.

Doneger described his father as "a very strong personality" and when the elder Doneger believed in something, he moved full-steam ahead. "And he believed in FIT and in helping and supporting young people, and being as philanthropic and supportive as he could be for causes he was involved in." He said his father was also passionate about FIT students, many of whom were interns at The Doneger Group, and worked there after graduating. "Not only have we given back, but FIT has given so much to my company as well," he said.

Doneger said his father would find it amusing that FIT was naming "a computer lab" after him. "Maybe a merchandising room, or a buying room, or a negotiating room," he quipped. "My father was old-fashioned, yet very modern. At our company, we try to stick to the basics and move forward with a modern twist."

In addition to allocating funds to the computer lab, The Doneger Group is endowing five annual full-tuition scholarships.

Brown acknowledged the Doneger family's contribution. "They have been a vital part of FIT," she said. "Henry Doneger was an industry visionary and he understood the importance of education to the future of fashion."

Brown added that Abbey Doneger has continued the involvement, and has been a constant presence at FIT, serving as vice president of the Educational Foundation for the Fashion Industries, the advisory and fund-raising body.In November 2006, The Doneger Group celebrated its 60th anniversary by raising $700,000 to benefit the Henry Doneger Scholarship Fund at FIT, and the Henry Doneger Computer Lab is named in recognition of that support.

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